The University will institute a ban on freshman grade deflation and implement a new grading system beginning fall 2014, it announced yesterday. The announcement comes three months after University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 charged a faculty committee with reevaluating the policy, which limits the percentage of As given in each department to 35 percent.
Under the new system, all students will take their classes pass/D/fail their freshman year. The current letter system will also be dropped. Instead, students will receive Greek letter grades beginning sophomore year, with the top 35 percent of grades given in each department to be Pi Beta Phi. The next 35 percent will be awarded Kappa Alpha Theta and the bottom 30 percent receives the failing grade of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
“The consensus was that students were creating self-selected social groups based on problem set and paper grades,” Eisgruber read off a piece of paper passed to him by presidential speechwriter Eric Quinones. “Princeton prides itself on its intellectual diversity, and that includes the rich academic discourse between A-students and C-students. But how can they talk if they just sort themselves immediately freshman year?”
“When I got my first — and only — C in freshman year physics, I was shunned for light years,” Eisgruber said. “I eventually redeemed myself, joining Dial Lodge, but that C plagued me all the way till sophomore year. It was the reason I got hosed from Ivy — they thought I wasn’t smart enough to join the natural aristocracy.”
Not a single Dial Lodge alumnus confirmed Eisgruber’s membership in the club. Those interviewed claimed they had no idea who he was.
Eisgruber noted the change to the Greek grading system will provide a “fresh start” and free students from the stigma of grades that are not As.
“I’m definitely in favor of the ban,” Elle Woods ’17 said. “I tried to join a ECO 101 study group this semester, but they wouldn’t let me study with them because I only got a 13/15 on my last problem set. I even brought muffins in a pretty basket, but they just said I would slow them down.” She said the rest of the group had gotten 14/15 on the problem set.
The University also plans to replace digital and paper transcripts. Grades will now be given in the form of gold pins or embroidered on Vineyard Vines canvas totes, which students may attach to graduate school or job applications.
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